Ah, the undeniable, choked-up gurgle of a toilet struggling to flush. Few sounds can trigger instant dismay and disgust quite like that distinctive, constricted bubbling. Luckily, diagnosing the issue and unclogging a toilet isn't usually a major ordeal. There are lots of ways to get the job done, and usually, it requires a couple of minutes at most.
Whether you're facing a backup at home or never want to deal with the embarrassment of owning up to a disastrous clog in the office toilet, this blog is for you.
Read on to learn how to unclog a toilet fast, with and without traditional clog-clearing tools.
Plunge It Like You Mean It
If there's a plunger nearby, chances are it'll dislodge the clog in the toilet drain and get things moving again. But if you're facing a serious clog, you'll need to go after it with some force. And you may need to plunge several times before the sludge in the pipe gives way.
If you're new to plunging, here's how to unclog a toilet fast with a standard plunger:
1. Make sure there's enough liquid in the toilet bowl to completely cover the bottom of the plunger. If there isn't, fill a bucket or bowl with water and add it to the toilet. You don't want any air pockets.
2. Insert the plunger into the toilet bowl, placing it over the drain opening. Ensure the bottom opening of the plunger completely covers the drain hole.
3. Now it's time to plunge. Make your first plunge a bit gentle, as the plunger's bell will still be full of air at this point, which you want to gently expel. If you initially thrust downward with a bit too much force, you'll regret it.
4. Once the air has left the bell, it's time for vigorous plunging. Maintaining the seal between the bell and the drain opening, plunge the tool downward and upward forcefully. This will repeatedly force water backward and forward through the pipe, which will dislodge the clog.
5. If the clog doesn't loosen right away, keep at it. You may need 15–20 plunges to get things moving again. Try a quick half-flush to test the flow, and if it doesn't work, repeat the above steps.
In most cases, vigorous plunging is all that's necessary to unclog a toilet fast. If you're dealing with a stubborn clog that just won't budge, you may need a thorough drain snaking to restore flow.
Use Dish Soap and Hot Water to Dislodge Debris
If you don't have access to a plunger, don't freak out. Dish soap and hot water might just do the trick. No, it's not a pipe dream. But it could very well be a dream for a clogged toilet pipe.
How on earth can dish soap dislodge a clog? The magic lies in soap's slippery nature. When you pour soap into a clogged toilet, it'll help lubricate any debris stuck in the pipe. The more lubrication there is, the easier the clog will move and the higher the likelihood that it'll flow down the drain with a simple flush.
Want to try this method out? Here's how to unclog a toilet fast with soap and hot water:
1. Pour about a half-cup of dish soap into the toilet. Let it sit for around 10 minutes.
2. While you're waiting, heat one gallon of water in a large pot on the stove. Use a pot with two handles, as you'll have an easier time dumping the water into the toilet bowl.
3. Remove the pot from the stove just before the water begins to boil.
4. Carefully dump the hot water into the toilet, taking care not to splash yourself.
5. If the soap worked its lubricating magic, the clog should start moving. When a toilet bowl is too full of liquid, it naturally flushes, which should happen with this method if the clog is ready to move.
6. Try flushing the toilet. If it drains slowly, repeat the process until the clog resolves.
Try Using a Toilet Brush
Can you find a toilet brush? If so, it may work to dislodge a clog. But you'll need a strong grip and a stronger stomach if you want to try this out. Most brushes have short handles, so you'll probably end up getting your hands dirty. Of course, wear gloves if you have access to them.
To unclog a toilet fast with a toilet brush, simply insert the brush into the drain hole and plunge it inward and outward as you would with a regular plunger. If you're lucky (and if the clog isn't that serious), you'll get enough water moving through the pipe to loosen things up.
If the brush end of the pipe won't fit in the drain hole, flip it around, hold onto the bristles, and insert the handle instead.
Obviously, this method should only be a last-ditch attempt to unclog a toilet. It's not reliable by any means, but if you're in a pinch, consider giving it a try. Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
While baking soda and vinegar are a go-to solution for multiple household scenarios, they also work for clogged toilets. Who knew something from your elementary school science class could be so versatile? From removing hard water stains to freshening your sink, they've been a time-tested option with proven results, and your toilet clog is included in the list!
Start by adding one cup of baking soda to the clogged toilet, then give it about two minutes, then add two cups of vinegar. Remember, as you add it, it will react with the baking soda and bubble, so be sure to pour it slowly to keep it from overflowing or splashing.
Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes, then flush to see if the clog has passed.
How to Handle Stubborn Toilet Clogs
If you're getting minimal movement after multiple attempts, call a drain cleaning specialist. Your clogged toilet drain could be the result of a deeper, more serious problem, such as a blocked sewer line or clogged septic system.
A pro can perform a drain camera inspection to identify the source of the problem and follow that up with water jetting or drain snaking, whichever is most appropriate.
Once your toilet is good to go, be gentle with it. Don't choke it with toilet paper, and be sure to check out the 7 Things to Never Put Down Your Drains so you don't inadvertently cause another serious clog.
What Risks Come With a Clogged Toilet?
Proper sanitation means having a way to dispose of waste in a healthy and efficient way. Aside from being a massive headache, clogged toilets have several risks:
Clogs will increase the risk of the toilet overflowing and will cause damage to your home if not cleaned up right away.
The toilet water can facilitate harmful bacteria growth, and if it's left to sit and the clog isn't resolved, this will continue accumulating and end up as a risk to your air quality or health.
When water is blocked from flowing, it accumulates and becomes stagnant. Over time, the bacteria and particulates will emit a foul odor, which will be released into your home.
It Can Cause Expensive Leaks
On top of everything else, if you have an older toilet or corroded plumbing system, the clog can cause leaking in other areas of your home. As the pressure builds from the blockage, it creates a chain reaction that continues to build and can result in water damage in other interior spaces.
Get Fast Clogged Toilet Repair in the Twin Cities
If you're dealing with a severely clogged toilet that won't flush no matter what you try, get in touch with our team at Drain Blaster Bill's Sewer & Drain Cleaning. We specialize in comprehensive commercial and residential drain cleaning and offer same-day and 24/7 emergency clogged toilet repair service throughout the Minneapolis and St. Paul metros.
To learn more about our services, get a quote, or schedule an appointment, call our Stillwater, MN office today at 763-913-8719. You can also request a free drain cleaning estimate online, and we'll reach out with more information.